Picket outside Reitz court

2009-10-26 09:27

Bloemfontein - A small group of ANC Women's League and National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union members are picketing outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court where the crimem injuria case of the so-called Reitz Four is scheduled to start.

Some women in green ANC Women's League clothes are holding placards with anti-racism messages.

Members of the ANC and Cosatu had applied for permission to picket outside court, said Free State police spokesperson Captain Rulene Khn.

"We have operational planning in place in case of any incidents. The public order police and crime prevention unit will monitor the situation."

Possible postponement

The appearance of RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler could end up being a postponement, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said at the weekend.

"It might be that the State would ask for the postponement to carefully consider the issue in light of representation received from the defence on Wednesday," said Medupe Simasiku, the NPA spokesperson in Bloemfontein.

The four former University of the Free State (UFS) students, of the Reitz residence, are accused of humiliating five black staff members in an initiation-type ceremony which they filmed.

The four women cleaners and a man are seen on their hands and knees eating food which had apparently been urinated into by a student. The students also express opposition to the university's integration policy in the video.

Students pardoned

Newly appointed UFS rector Jonathan Jansen caused a stir last week after announcing that the institution had pardoned the four students, and that they could finish their studies if they wished to do so.

Two of the students have already completed their studies but two others are now planning to return to campus.

The move drew wide-spread criticism, causing Jansen to issue a statement on Sunday inviting "all stakeholders inside and outside the UFS... to meet with the university management to table their concerns and to try to find consensus on a way forward".